Draw, sing, dance, write, blog… Vonnegut’s and Ueland’s wisdom

Kurt Vonnegut

Check out this final interview with the late Kurt Vonnegut, who passed away earlier this year. I haven’t read any of his works actually, but I appreciate his insights on life and the value of the arts:

“I always say to people, practice an art, no matter how well or badly [you do it], because then you have the experience of becoming, and it makes your soul grow.”

Doing anything creative is good for your soul, even if you’re not very good at it and no one pats you on the back for it or pays you for it. If you love it, just do it. Draw, sing, dance, write, blog… anything. Do it for your soul’s sake.

If You Want To Write

The best book I’ve ever read on the subject of creativity (and maybe my favorite book ever) is If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland. If you don’t want to write, don’t be deterred by the title. You could substitute almost anything you love to do for the word “Write” in the title and still be completely inspired by this book. This is one of the few books I’ve read at least three times, and I feel like the book itself is a good friend. When I go to bookstores, I look to see if this book is on the shelf. Not to buy it again, but to reassure myself that the bookstore management has the good sense to keep it in stock. I made this book required reading for my student staff last year.

Ueland was a writer and writing instructor who wrote this book in the 1930’s. Her tone in the book is conversational, and her message can be summed up with these lines from the book:

“Everyone is talented, original, and has something to say.”

“Your motto: Be Bold, be Free, be Truthful.”

“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

“…the only way to love a person is… by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet, in them.”

“Think of yourself as incandescent power, illuminated perhaps and forever talked to by God and his messengers.”

“The best way to know the Truth or Beauty is to try to express it. And what is the purpose of existence Here or Yonder but to discover truth and beauty and express it?”                                                 – Brenda Ueland

Add this book to your wish list.

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